Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Allison Terry


Employer-sponsored wellness programs are important tools for keeping employees healthy, reducing an organization's healthcare expenses, mitigating risk factors, and promoting health and well-being. Little research is available on the factors associated with employees' participation in wellness programs in rural hospitals. Pender's health promotion model was used to determine how employees who participated in a rural hospital's wellness program differed from those who did not participate in terms of demographics, perceptions of personal health, general health behaviors, health locus of control, self-motivation, and situational barriers. A descriptive, correlational replication with the Hallion and Haignere questionnaire was used to survey employees. Of the survey's 186 participants, 29% participated in the wellness program. The reasons for not participating were scheduled program times (n = 51, 33.6%) and lack of interest (n = 31, 20.4%). As shown by logistic regression analysis, overall employee wellness and employee payment status were statistically significant predictors of participation. The Pearson chi square showed a statistically significant difference between program participants and nonparticipants in terms of responsibility for children/elders (p = .047) and shift worked (p = .016). These findings suggest that, when developing and implementing a comprehensive wellness program, the characteristics and needs of employees, along with organizational culture, must be considered. The successful implementation and engagement of staff in an employer sponsored wellness plan improve health through lifestyle change and risk reduction, thus promoting positive social change and leading to healthier communities. The findings of the study were incorporated into the recommendations for the hospital's wellness program.